Capitol Sunlight: A citizen’s guide to lawmaking and lobbying in Colorado


(Illustration by Lonnie MF Allen)

If you were able to tip up the gold dome of the Colorado Capitol and peer inside, the policymaking during the legislative session would look like organized chaos. And it’s hard to see how average voters can get their voices heard.

This is where The Colorado Sun wants to help. For the 2019 legislative session, we are launching Capitol Sunlight, where we pull back the curtain to demystify the state’s lawmaking process and help residents become more engaged.

Over the next 120-day term, we’ll shine our reporting light on the politics, people and policy at the state Capitol and offer avenues for everyone to get involved.

Read more below and check back often for more stories. And, most importantly, we want to hear from you. Tell us what you want to know — and we’ll work to find answers, whether it’s explaining the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights or questioning lawmakers about a particular bill. More details on how to connect with us below.

John Frank, The Colorado Sun



How you can have a say in the way Colorado spends its budget

Colorado is currently planning how to spend the more than $30 billion in the state budget. And for the first time, you can tell lawmakers directly how you would like to see the money distributed.

A citizen’s guide to how spending works in Colorado

But before you go, you need to know the unique way that spending works in Colorado, from TABOR to a slew of amendments you may have never heard of. (JUMP TO: TABOR / Gallagher Amendment / Amendment 23)



A guide to lawmaking and lobbying in Colorado

Lawmaking doesn’t have to be a mysterious process. And you can be a part of it! In our guide, we offer the details on what you need to know to get your voice heard in the Colorado lawmaking process, according to conversations with dozens of legislators, lobbyists and policy experts.

>> See the guide here.



Top 10 issues to watch in Colorado’s 2019 legislative session 

Colorado lawmakers will focus on everything from oil and gas and health care to education and immigration during the legislative session.

>> See all 10 issues here.



Jared Polis Promise Tracker

During his 2018 campaign, Jared Polis made a lot of promises to voters, and we’re tracking his progress on them.

>> See the Promise Tracker here.



Colorado politics, annotated

Sometimes, a politician’s words don’t have all the context you need to understand them. We’re launching a regular series of annotated speeches and documents to help provide in-line context to important political speech.

Latest annotated posts



From the sidelines to the march, and now to the Capitol: One woman’s journey in the Trump era

State. Rep Lisa Cutter, center, talks to her colleagues on the opening day of the 72nd General Assembly session Jan. 4, 2019 (Kathryn Scott, The Coloado Sun)

Part 1: Lisa Cutter helped organize the first Women’s March in Denver, and now she is part of Colorado’s pink wave of new Democratic lawmakers elected in 2018. Read more…

Part 2: “It’s sort of messy, but that’s part of the beauty in a way.” As her first session winds up, Rep. Lisa Cutter attempts a “go big or go home” moment and learns a lot about how the legislative process works. Read more…

Part 3: The legislative session doesn’t in early May. It continues as lawmakers return to their districts and explain what they did. First-year Rep. Lisa Cutter heard an earful. Read more …



We want your questions about how lawmaking works in Colorado

The legislative process is complicated, and we know that you may have questions we haven’t addressed here. So send us your questions below (no question is too small or too basic) and we’ll work to get answers posted throughout the session.

Click here to see some of your earlier prompts, answered by politics reporter Jesse Paul.



The latest Colorado Sun politics stories